A Guide to Entertaining with Retro Theme Serve ware

Do you love to entertain but aren’t sure what you need to entertain using retro theme serve ware? Well you have come to the right place. This article is going to discuss the items you will need to serve your guests from start to finish with a mid-century modern vibe!
Mid-Century Dinnerware


Do you love to entertain but aren’t sure what you need to entertain using retro theme serve ware? Well you have come to the right place. This article is going to discuss the items you will need to serve your guests from start to finish with a mid-century modern vibe! Just like mid-century décor, the items you will use to entertain will be clean, minimal, functional and brightly colored with unique patterns.

Let’s discuss some of the most common items you will need when you want to entertain. Whatever you choose, it should represent your unique style.

Appetizer Pieces

Want to offer your guests a snack while they’re waiting for dinner to start? Why not set out a bowl of chips and dip? There is a handy spot for the dip to keep it separated from the chips. The dip bowl on most styles has its own stand to let the dip bowl hover over the top of the chip bowl. These come in either glass or plastic with a variety of designs and colors. A glass bowl may be clear or even brightly colored in hues of blue, green, orange and brown with designs such as flowers, leaves and geometric patterns. One of our favorite designs is the flower and vine pattern. We’re also partial to the starburst pattern.

A vegetable tray is a huge hit at any party or gathering. With different sections to keep the veggies separate from your amazing homemade dip, these make for a very functional serving piece. A lazy susan is a fun way to show off your vegetable masterpiece. Some lazy susans are shaped like a flower, round or rectangular. Other styles include oval, abstract and triangular. Colors choices and patterns are many. Vibrant blues, oranges and greens with vegetable, starburst and abstract patterns. The material used for these are either wood, ceramic, glass or metal. Our pick for a vegetable tray is the melamine mid-century modern vegetable tray with aqua and pink Melmac design.

Is homemade punch or maybe a sangria going to be a drink choice? A mid-century modern punch bowl should be your go-to. Made of glass and adorned with beautiful designs, these punch bowls are an amazing conversation starter. Colors are endless. Gorgeous greens, turquoise, shades of blues and many other mod color choices are available. Patterns include fruits, geometric shapes and atomic designs. Our pick is the turquoise adorned with polka dots bowl and glass set.

Pre-Dinner Pieces

A salad is a starter for nearly any dinner party. Choose a pattern that complements the rest of your table settings and can hold enough for your guests. Teak, ceramic or glass, the patterns and colors are common. If using teak wood, you may just want one that shows the beauty of the wood. Glass or ceramic can come in hues of green, blue, orange and reds. Patterns include clear glass with a silver or gold band, geometric, abstract, starburst, atomic and much more. You have glass, melamine and metal. A good bet would be to buy a set with the salad bowl and serving bowls. One of our favorites is the frosted glass bowl adorned with fruit by Hazel Atlas.

Salad must have dressing, so that means you must have a variety to choose from in mod bottles. You can choose clear glass with a modern design or bright colors of stained glass. Colors range from clear glass to stained glass in your choice of mod colors. Choose from brightly colored bottles of green, blue, orange, yellows and red. To pour, some have a cork like top and some have a spout and others have a flip-top style.


The choices are nearly endless when it comes to dinnerware. You want to choose what you feel is right for you and that fits your style. As with your modern décor, your dinnerware can either match or contrast. But everything should be brightly colored in the world of mid-century entertaining.


Mid-century plates, not surprisingly, are round, square, and some are even rectangular. But they are free from ornamentation and have smooth lines. There is a myriad of different designs, styles, colors and patterns to choose from.

Just like with your modern décor, to get the full modern effect, you are going to choose bright colors and unique patterns for your plates. No one has ever went wrong choosing teals or oranges for their mid-century mod choices. If full plate designs is what you are looking for, you may want to choose a piece by World Market. The patterns include mandalas, polka dots, retro patterns and more. We think the pink and gold starburst pattern by Lenox is a good mid-century modern piece. 

Plates can be made of material as durable as stainless steel or bone china to the semi-fragile melamine.

Serving Bowls

Having mashed potatoes and a variety of vegetables and maybe a bowl of rice? Serving bowls come in glass, metal or pottery in bright colors and amazing patterns. These are not ordinary bowls either. Round, rectangular or oblong. Gorgeous geometric patterns, flowers and vines, a fruit or vegetable design or an atomic pattern among other unique patterns are available.

Gravy boats

Now, you can’t have mashed potatoes without some yummy gravy, so equip your guests with a convenient, stylish gravy boat. These boats are made of ceramic or pottery and come in a variety of mod colors of blue, red, orange, turquoise and the like. Many gorgeous patterns to pick from. Some have an open handle, while some have a closed handle while others have no handle at all. Picking a gravy boat may be overwhelming because of the different shapes, colors and patterns that are available. A coffee cup style boat seems to be the most popular, so to show your defiance, maybe you will choose a gravy boat shaped like a scoop or one with an attached underplate with lid. Our pick for a gravy boat is a turquoise lined with a mid-century flower design.


Having wine for dinner? Some guests may choose water instead. This calls for a wine glass. They are a great choice as a water goblet as well. Among others, wine glasses can be your standard glass with no pattern, being embossed with a Valencia pattern and long stems. You may opt to go with the shorter, more rounded glass with a shorter stem for a relaxed look. Frosted glass, metal rims, and starburst patterns. One of our favorites is the Ombre Cordial collection by Dorothy Thorpe, they are frosted glass and come in all your mod colors of greens, pink, blues and oranges.


Having the right flatware is necessary. Flatware is made of metal and the handle is either plain with some type of etching or wood in a variety of the most popular modern colors. You want to choose flatware that feels good in the hand. You do not want to present your guests with flatware that is too bulky or heavy. Our choice for flatware is the Cameo by TOWLE Scc for its wood pattern and stain.

Salt and pepper shakers

Who says a salt and pepper shaker can’t be stylish? A mid-century modern salt and pepper shaker proves that notion wrong. Mid-century modern salt and pepper shakers follow the idea of other modern items. They come in a huge selection of brightly colored unique shaped sets. They are made of metal or teak wood and can be tall, round or short. Gorgeous hues of blues, greens, reds and oranges. Or you can choose the starburst, atomic or geometric patterns. We have a bias for the pawn shaped set made by Naike Country Arts.

After Dinner

After dinner, when everyone has wandered into the sitting room, why not serve some ice-cold lemonade or iced tea? We suggest that you pick a matching pitcher and glass set. These are made of glass or plastic and are very colorful and have amazing patterns and shapes! Farm animals, geometric shapes, beautiful etchings and stained glass are a few of the choices you have. As with most pitchers, the top is open having a pour spout while others may have a lid with openings to pour. Our pick? The lavender Blendo by the West Virginia Glass Company.

We hope this guide has helped you know what types of items you are going to need for your next party. With all the choices of entertaining using retro theme serve ware, you are sure to find the style, color and design you are looking for. Don’t be afraid to let your style shine through! Think bold and take a risk on your choice of serve ware. After all, isn’t that what mid-century mod is all about?

Have you recently changed your serve ware style to represent your mid-century style? Do you have any other tips, tricks or suggestions to make mid-century entertaining better or more efficient? Think about what made your last party a success and let us know by sending us a picture or leaving your comments by following us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest @XPLORzine.

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